Lawsuit filed by Dakota Access protesters to proceed

BLAKE NICHOLSON, Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An appeals court ruled Tuesday that a federal judge in North Dakota was correct in not barring police from using harsh methods against Dakota Access pipeline protesters.

There have been no protests since February, but the decision will allow a lawsuit to proceed in which pipeline opponents allege they were subjected to police brutality and their civil rights were violated. They seek unspecified money damages.

Plaintiffs asked federal Judge Daniel Hovland in November 2016 to bar officers from using tactics such as chemical agents and water sprays. He refused and protesters appealed, putting their lawsuit on hold for nine months. It can now proceed.

Law enforcement earlier asked Hovland to dismiss the lawsuit. He hasn’t ruled, though he indicated earlier that protesters are unlikely to succeed.